The Maori Party Co-leader, Te Ururoa Flavell, has accepted a request to present a petition to Parliament, which calls for the establishment of Māori wards on District Councils.
“We wholeheartedly support this petition that’s being led by New Plymouth Mayor Andrew Judd who unsuccessfully championed the creation of a Māori ward in New Plymouth under the existing legislation.
“Everyone is aware of the low participation of Māori in local government and the existing legislation is clearly inadequate. A law change is needed to ensure that tāngata whenua views are provided across the country,” says Mr Flavell.
Mr Judd wants the House of Representatives to consider a law change to establish Māori wards by following similar rules for setting up other local government wards.
Mr Flavell says “A change is long overdue. The fact that five percent of the voting public can challenge any decision related to Māori representation is disheartening and means Māori will almost always be defeated in this process. How is it fair that mechanisms such as these can apply?”
Māori Party Co-leader, Marama Fox, says “Guaranteeing Māori wards would ensure Māori have more effective Māori representation at the local government table.”
Mr Flavell says “Māori wards would better representative and reflect the make-up of communities.”
“Māori wards would not only enrich the culture of councils by sharing knowledge about Māori history, significant sites but would also provide appropriate support to address issues facing Māori and others in their respective regions”, Marama Fox she says.
The Māori Party congratulates New Plymouth Mayor, Andrew Judd, for putting forward his petition.